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Strengthening security of journalists in Uganda to realize freedom of expression

Year when project approved: 
Approved budget: 
US$8 800.00

The media in Uganda has grown over the last three decades mainly because of liberalization of the sector which permitted individual ownership. This pattern implies an increase in the number of electronic and print media houses that widely recruited personnel to run these entities. Currently there are over 240 licensed radio stations in Uganda, although this figure is higher if the other 40 unlicensed are taken into account. Televisions currently operating number over twenty and newspapers stand at thirty. The context appears pluralistic given the statistics but this does not mean there are no shortcomings and challenges facing the media.
Presently, media space is shrinking in the country with stringent regulations being instituted by the state to curtail dissent, intimidation of journalists is on the rise, and arbitrary arrests, killings and censorship remain vivid. This trend is reflected in the number of violation cases registered against journalists by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda in the last 3 years: In 2009, 38 cases were registered, with 58 cases in 2010, and 110 cases registered in 2011. At May 31 2012, 46 cases have been reported and the trend is not about to change. In addition, not much focus and attention has been directed towards journalists’ security needs by activist groups, and therefore it is appropriate to train journalists and media practitioners in personal and organizational safety to ensure the gains in freedom of expression are consolidated.
This project will attempt to address the issue by holding four consultative regional meetings each lasting one day and attended by over 35 participants. Upon completion of these meetings, there will be a training of trainers (ToT) of identified journalists who will be equipped with knowledge about dealing with security threats identified, who will in turn transfer the same to their colleagues. Educational materials will also be produced.

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Project details
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Beneficiary name: 
Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda (HRNJ-U)
Beneficiary description: 

The current vision of HRNJ-Uganda in the current strategic plan is to work towards ‘An informed and respectful society of human rights which is free from abuse’, with the mission of ‘enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building capacities of journalists to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms’.

Its specific objectives include: 1.To promote and protect human rights as provided for in the regional and international instruments that Uganda is party to and as provided in the constitution of Uganda through the media; 2.To build the professional capacity of human rights journalists through training, research, reporting and technical skills acquisition; 3.To mobilize, unite and represent human rights journalists on matters of common interest; 4.To work together as human rights journalists seeking to achieve goals of empowering the public in creating a platform to demand for a non violent, corruption free and a human rights observing society; 5.To work together with judicial organs, civil society organisations, regional and international organs to bring peace and harmony.

Beneficiary address: 
Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda (HRNJ-U), PO Box 71314, Clock Tower, Kampala

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Tel: +256 414 272 934 / 414 667 627
Location and contacts
Responsible UNESCO Regional advisers: 

Jaco du Toit (j.dutoit@unesco.org)

UNESCO Field Office:

Project contacts: 

Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala (coordination@hrnjuganda.org)

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